Your freshman year of college is a huge step outside of your comfort zone. Even for people who are relatively independent, living on campus by yourself, with no one to tell you what to do is a big change. Having some fears or anxieties about starting this new journey is perfectly okay. I’ve compiled five of the more common fears incoming freshman have and how to overcome them.
1. Dealing With Roommates
One thing that I was nervous about before I even stepped foot on my college campus was whether or not I would get along with my roommates. I had two in my tiny dorm with me, so it was going to be a bit more cramped than usual. It ended up with one of my roommates moving out, which freed up some space, and I actually got along with my other roommate. We weren’t super best friends, but we managed to live together without any real issues.
The biggest thing with roommates is to set up boundaries before you even move in together. Get to talking and see what kind of person they are compared to you. Make sure if you’re sharing a mini fridge or microwave that you have that all set with who is bringing what. One of the biggest things I had was food. Make sure that if you’re sharing a fridge, mark what is yours and what the rules are for sharing. There’s nothing like looking forward to some ice cream after a long day to find that your roommate ate it and never replaced it.
2. Making Friends
Making friends is always a concern. No one likes to be completely alone (yes, even those serious introverts) and having someone to head to dinner with and hang out and just bitch about life with is nice. As someone who’s relatively shy, especially when I was fresh out of high school, I found it easy to make friends and acquaintances. Most of my classes were intro 100 level courses, so everyone else were freshman and felt the same way. Asking something as simple as “what’s your major?” or “where are you from?” can cause a conversation to blossom.
There are also clubs, organizations, sporting events, RA held events and other things that your campus will have that you can join/go to/be interested in to meet new people that have similar interests as you. Even on a small campus you should be able to find at least one other person you like. Though you have to be willing to be friends first.
3. Being Responsible For Yourself
Living on campus as a freshman is usually the first time you’ll be fending for yourself. You have to find/make your own food, schedule your own time to fit classes, homework and social interaction, and generally be a pre-adult, as I like to call it.
College is a step between teenager and adult, where you can experience the freedom of being an adult since you have to do everything for yourself, but within a controlled environment where you’re a bit more safe than if you were completely on your own.
For this you need to learn how to schedule your time. Time management is a huge part of being an adult to make sure you get what you need to get done during the day actually happens. I’m partial to physical planners/calendars since I prefer hand writing things, so the free ones my school gave out were a huge part of my life. I remember forgetting it in a classroom once and I was lost without it until I could get it back.
Link: The Ultimate Guide to Staying Organized in College
4. Taking Care of Your Finances
Finances are a big part of the college experience, especially as a freshman. With college and it’s parts getting more and more expensive, having a solid plan for how to pay for things will help you out in the long run. Having some savings you can keep attached to your debit card to pay for everyday expenses is crucial. Most likely your school has some sort of meal plan, so take advantage of that. It’s billed in with your tuition, so make sure you’re paying for what you need and nothing more.
Also make sure you’re not throwing your money away at useless things or stuff you don’t need. How many sweatshirts with your school logo do you really need?
Loans and scholarships are the most common way of dealing with the tuition part of college. If you had a family member set up a savings account for you when you were a baby, congratulations, you’re a huge step ahead of everyone else. You should always take advantage of scholarships, even once you’ve started college. This is something I wasn’t aware of. It never crossed my mind that you could apply for scholarships after your freshman year. Do it. It can’t hurt.
Loans are a bigger issue that I definitely can’t really break down. Hell, I don’t even remember signing the paperwork for my loans, but I’m now paying back the $10,000+ I owe.
Have any other tips for incoming freshman? Let me know in the comments!